PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa caretaker government on Monday announced a Rs19.77 billion flour subsidy scheme during the month of Ramazan saying the initiative will benefit over five million poor and deserving families in the province.

Caretaker minister for food Fazal Elahi and spokesman for the government Barrister Feroz Jamal Shah Kakakhel told a joint presser here that like the federal government, the provincial government would provide subsidised wheat flour to the people during the month of fasting.

Mr Elahi said that the caretaker cabinet had also approved the subsidy scheme in its meeting earlier last week.

“We are launching the programme to help alleviate the misery of the people badly hit by inflation,” he said.

Says over 5m families to get three 10kg bags each

The minister blamed the high inflation on last year’s flash floods, Ukraine war, and depreciation of Pakistani rupee.

He said that KP needed 5.1 million tons of wheat but it produced 1.3 million tons.

Mr Elahi said that the province had purchased 1.2 million tons of wheat through the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco).

He said that the caretaker government had approved Rs19.77 billion flour subsidy for the month of Ramazan.

“Our food department will distribute over 17 million bags of 10kg flour in the subsidy scheme,” he said.

The minister said that the government required 247,500 tons of wheat.

He said that the flour subsidy would cover 5.7 million households of the province comprising more than 36 million people, who made over 91 per cent of the province’s population.

Mr Elahi said that the food department would set up over 7,600 points in the province for the distribution of subsidised flour to the people.

“The food department and district administrations will put up around 6,000 food distribution points across the province. In addition, 1,600 utility stores and other places will also sell subsidised flour to the people,” he said.

The minister said that every family would be entitled to receive three flour bags each weighing 10kg.

He said that the food department, the chief secretary office’s Performance Management and Reforms Unit, and the KP Information Technology Board had developed a system for the distribution of subsidised flour.

Mr Elahi said that the flour would be distributed with the help of the data compiled by the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

He said that those who wanted to receive subsidised flour could get their cards scanned at the flour distribution point and walk away with the flour in case of being entitled to it.

The minister said that those eligible to the subsidy but were not on the BISP lists could submit an application to authorities to claim the right to the flour within 24 hours.

On the occasion, food secretary Abid Wazir said that subsidised flour would be distributed through registered dealers, shops, utility stores and mobile points.

Meanwhile, chief secretary Imdadullah Bosal chaired a meeting here about the distribution of subsidised flour in the province, according to an official statement.

The meeting was attended by the administrative secretaries, divisional commissioners, deputy commissioners and representatives of the Benazir Income Support Programme and Utility Stores Corporation.

The chief secretary directed authorities to ensure that the scheme directly benefited the people from poor and middle classes of society.

He said that the district administration should also make proper arrangements to facilitate those visiting flour distribution points.

“Separate arrangements should be made for the elderly people and women to benefit from the scheme,” he said.

Mr Bosal said that technology would be used to ensure transparent distribution of subsidised flour.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2023

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